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Ghostman (Jack White #1)

3.75  ·  Rating Details  ·  5,113 Ratings  ·  958 Reviews
Stunningly dark, hugely intelligent and thoroughly addictive, Ghostman announces the arrival of an exciting and highly distinctive novelist.

When a casino robbery in Atlantic City goes horribly awry, the man who orchestrated it is obliged to call in a favor from someone who’s occasionally called Jack. While it’s doubtful that anyone knows his actual name or anything at all
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Hardcover, 327 pages
Published February 12th 2013 by Knopf (first published January 2013)
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Kemper
The main character from Ghostman makes some toast:

I went into the kitchen and put two pieces of sliced sourdough bread into the toaster. You can use any type of bread to make toast, but I prefer sourdough. Other professional toast makers use whole grain or even raisin bread, but I like the taste and consistency of sourdough when toasted properly. Only a fool or an amateur would use white Wonder Bread.

I was using a Proctor Silex 22605 Cool-Wall 2-Slice Toaster with white plastic sides and chrome
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Mara
“I was doing a nickel bit in the hoosegow…under glass because of a loose jawed stoolie who'd snitched to the bulls.”
That line wasn't penned by Roger Hobbs. Actually, it probably doesn't even make sense, but I've always operated under the notion that if I can't be a hardboiled criminal, at least I can try to coopt their lingo. So, if for that reason alone, reading Ghostman was a worthwhile endeavor (especially since the Sam Spade terminology is probably getting a bit dated).

The titular rol
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Mal Warwick
Feb 28, 2013 Mal Warwick rated it liked it
The Trouble with Thrillers

When you wander through your local bookstore, or a drugstore or Wal-Mart, you’ll probably pass by a rack of paperback books with lurid covers that are usually labeled as thrillers. Pick up one of these books, and what are you likely to find? A superhero cop, spy, or private investigator — one who combines the strength of an Olympic gold medalist with an IQ of 165 and the ability to outfight the biggest, baddest bad guy ever to come down the pike. Apparently, a former Br
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James Thane
Nov 14, 2013 James Thane rated it liked it
Ghostman is a very good debut novel told from the first-person POV of the Ghostman, whose real name no one really knows, though some refer to him as "Jack." He's a master criminal who lives way, way off the grid and specializes in disappearing. He only emerges when a job especially interests him.

Five years earlier, "Jack" was part of a crew that attempted to pull off a huge heist in Kuala Lumpur that was organized by another master criminal named Marcus. The caper blew up in spectacular fashion
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RandomAnthony
Jul 22, 2014 RandomAnthony rated it liked it
Shelves: crime-noir
I wish I read Ghostman on a plane. I have a set of plane reading rules.

1) Nothing too intense.
2) Nothing that makes me think too much.
3) Something that would make a good movie is ideal.

Since I hate planes and wasn't going anywhere, however, I read Ghostman over a long weekend. I only picked up the book because of the online hype filtered through the NY Times and Barnes and Noble sites. Now, my expectations were high, and while I didn't love the novel I read the sucker in two days and I only chec
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Sean Peters
Jul 31, 2014 Sean Peters rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Ghost Man by Roger Hobbs

Well let's clear two interesting facts, one this is a debut author, second he finished this book when he was still at college in his early twenties.

When a casino robbery in Atlantic City goes horribly awry, the man who orchestrated it is obliged to call in a favour from someone who's sometimes called Jack. While it's doubtful anyone knows his actual name or anything at all about his true identity, or even if he's still alive, he's in his mid-30's and lives completely
...more
Jeffrey
Feb 28, 2013 Jeffrey rated it it was amazing
Jack is a Ghostman, a criminal hired by other criminals to fool people and clean up messes. A fixer,a cleaner, a man who gets things done. He lives completely off the grid. No one knows his real name. He lives for the action and the thrill. He is a master of disguises and nuances.

In Atlantic City, a heist is about to go down. Two criminals are going to steal $1,200,000 in freshly minted bills from an armored car delivery to a casino. The robbery goes off smoothly, when all hell breaks loose, an
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Lance Charnes
Dec 26, 2013 Lance Charnes rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fans of bad people behaving badly, or Blacklist fans waiting for the season to restart
Shelves: fiction-crime
Ghostman is a late addition to the growing genre of “fixer thrillers”: an awesomely competent master of extra-legal anonymity is called upon to clean up some present or imminent criminal mess on behalf of a shady person or organization (usually organized crime or government intelligence, with interchangeable ethics and work practices). NBC’s The Blacklist is the video embodiment of this genre; Ghostman’s unnamed protagonist is “Red” Reddington’s younger, less sophisticated nephew.

In this insta
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Skip
Nov 14, 2015 Skip rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: thriller
Bad guy (jugmarker) Marcus calls in a debt owed to him by ghostman, Jack White, when the theft of Federal Reserve money to a casino goes horribly wrong. Jack flies into Atlantic City on Marcus's jet, and immediately flagged by the FBI; however, he manages to stay out of their clutches, while trying to locate the money and avoid the maniacal Wolf, another baddie. There was plenty of action, but I did not care for the switching timeline to the Malaysian job that failed (creating Jack's debt to Mar ...more
Eric_W
Apr 15, 2013 Eric_W rated it really liked it
Ghosting is different from vanishing. Vanishing among professional criminals is discouraged if not condemned. After the job, you are obliged to follow the plan; if you disappear, especially with the money, all bets are off, and everyone will be after you.

Ghosting is very different as it involves assuming different identities and becoming different people. In this book, our protagonist -- the name is hardly relevant since he assumes so many different ones, but we'll call him Jack -- is obliged t
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Luanne Ollivier
Feb 18, 2013 Luanne Ollivier rated it it was amazing
Learn from my mistakes. It was almost bedtime, but I thought I would sample a few chapters of Ghostman by Roger Hobbs before calling it a night. Yeah, good plan - didn't work. And I was very bleary eyed at work the next morning.

Atlantic City. The perfect heist, perfectly planned- treasury bills on their way to a casino. But.....the best laid schemes of mice and men....

When things go horribly wrong, Marcus, the orchestrator (jugmarker) of the heist gets in touch with 'Jack' (aren't all the best a
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Antigone
Oct 22, 2015 Antigone rated it liked it
First-time author Roger Hobbs launches from the gate with a noir-ish heist novel featuring a ghostman. A ghostman is recruited by a crew of criminals to facilitate anonymity. He helps with disguises, passports, subterfuge; the subsuming of a recognizable identity. Our ghostman is at the top of his field, and lives his life on the back of his trade. He's constantly altering his location, his appearance, patterns of behavior, connective capability. On the luckiest of days he'll be nearly impossibl ...more
Carol
Mar 07, 2013 Carol added it
Shelves: fiction, debut
2, 3, 4 stars, I am so conflicted on where to rate this novel, so much so that I've decided to leave the rating blank. It wasn't amazing, at least not for me, I wouldn't pan it and ok doesn’t quite capture my feelings either.

Ghostman is a debut that is cleverly crafted, the type of story I generally crave. The premise of an Atlantic City heist gone bad is my kind of story. Figuring out the good guys. the bad guys and how the main character Jack Delton or whatever his name is, is going to prevai
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Eric
Mar 05, 2013 Eric rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Fans of heist stories
Shelves: crime
I decided to read this after seeing this Goodreads interview with the author. I do not regret the decision. I read the entire novel over a weekend.

The story is fairly straightforward, told from the first person point-of-view of Ghostman, while he is working a job to settle an old debt. Simultaneously, there are flashbacks to the bank heist that put him in that debt in the first place. The mystery of Ghostman -- including his real name, which the reader never learns -- is the truly compelling asp
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Ron
Nov 06, 2015 Ron rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fans of crime/thrillers
A Ghostman vanishes not simply by disappearing, but by becoming someone else. He’s also hired to make problems go away. I could use one of these guys on a daily basis.

I give Ghostman 3.5 stars because the story is well driven, the pace is constant, and the set-up of the book is pretty cool. I like Jack Delton, the main character in the book who is our Ghostman. Delton is not his true name. It could be White. The reader doesn’t actually learn Jack’s true name. That lends to the mysteriousness of
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Mike (the Paladin)
Aug 16, 2014 Mike (the Paladin) rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: thriller
Pretty good thriller. The concept is a good one. Every now and then a book (or movie for that matter) and here we have a "Ghostman".

A Ghostman vanishes people and things...including him or herself (apparently Ghostman is generic as he was trained by a woman and she is also called a "Ghostman" during the book's story). Anyway our Ghostman can only be contacted by you if he (or she) has made that possible.

Can you track a Ghostman down? Then he's probably not much of a Ghostman.

The story unfolds o
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Terri Lynn
Apr 23, 2013 Terri Lynn rated it it was amazing
This book, the first by Roger Hobbs, reminded me quite a bit of Lee Child's Jack Reacher books. In fact, the main character is named Jack some of the time (though we never learn his real name) and his is more of an enigma that Reacher is.

Jack is a strange fellow. He was bored in life until he learned Latin and began translating the old classics. In fact, he did that during his college days and now he does it even when hiding out after a heist to relax. That alone makes him strange to me as tran
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Mihir
Feb 18, 2013 Mihir rated it really liked it

Full review originally over at Fantasy Book Critic

ANALYSIS: I first found out about this book via twitter when Patsy Irwin had tweeted about it. Intrigued by its blurb, I requested a review copy and soon got one, which I began reading immediately. The book really drew me in and I think I have found another author to follow for the future.

The story begins with a detailed heist in Atlantic City that goes all right until the very end when someone jumps the would-be robbers and leaves a death trai
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Perri
Nov 13, 2014 Perri rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I had a hard time getting into this book at first because no one is likable. But the story of brutal people doing brutal work is oddly mesmerizing. It's like a peek into altered, ugly world and Hobbs makes it feel distressingly real, A couple of Reacher rip offs-"It was everything I wanted, and nothing I didn't" I guess Child can't trademark his catch phrases. Since there are two stories being told simultaneously, there are two exciting climaxes. A smart, well-written thriller.
Mike (the Paladin)
Aug 16, 2014 Mike (the Paladin) rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: thriller
Pretty good thriller. The concept is a good one. Every now and then a book (or movie for that matter) and here we have a "Ghostman".

A Ghostman vanishes people and things...including him or herself (apparently Ghostman is generic as he was trained by a woman and she is also called a "Ghostman" during the book's story). Anyway our Ghostman can only be contacted by you if he (or she) has made that possible.

Can you track a Ghostman down? Then he's probably not much of a Ghostman.

The story unfolds o
...more
Arun Divakar
There are some aspects of this novel that really hit it off with me.

1.The Research : There is a lot of tradecraft in this book in terms of heists. By the time you finish this book, you would have a fair understanding of how to rob a bank or a casino and also how to disappear into crowds and become utterly untraceable. A man or a woman who dwells in the trade of high stakes robbery would have to be like smoke when it comes to a real life existence is what the book says. You never stay somewhere f
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Alecia
Feb 28, 2013 Alecia rated it liked it
This was a very hyped debut novel with a killer review in the NY Times. I was excited to read it and noted that many reviewers on this site liked it a lot or loved it. Briefly reading over the Goodreads reviews, I concur with those less-enamored of the previous reviewers on a few things: While I thought it was a good novel, I didn't think it was great, or particularly worth recommending to anyone. I think Roger Hobbs has potential, and I would probably read any new work he comes up with. There w ...more
Gina Williams
Dec 01, 2012 Gina Williams rated it it was amazing
Shelves: debut, thriller, 2012, arc
I want more! From the opening scene to the final page I didn't put this book down and I'm seriously hoping Roger Hobbs has plans to continue writing this character.

'Jack' is a ghost. A guy that has learned to fly under the radar and become invisible. Only a few people know of his existence and even fewer know how to get in touch with him. When he receives an email at 5am from a previous acquaintance, he realizes it is time to pay back his debt.

From the opening scene of a botched casino robbery,
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Tony
Mar 29, 2013 Tony rated it really liked it
GHOST MAN. (2013). Roger Hobbs. ****.
This is an excellent first novel by this Portland-based author. It’s a cross between a caper novel and a time-driven thriller. The protagonist is the Ghost. The Ghost is a criminal who can ‘disappear’ by changing his looks and habits quickly. After a crime, he becomes someone else to the point that even the people who have worked with him don’t recognize him. The action in this story takes place between Kuala Lumpur, where the Ghost took on an earlier job fo
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Joe
Apr 01, 2013 Joe rated it it was ok
Of all the Goodreaders' reviews, only one that I read echoed my feelings and gave a lukewarm review. The rest, as always, loved the book which is almost always the case. I wonder often, not for long however because it's too depressing, what people get out of a book. This one had some potential. It introduced a unique character with a special skill set and an intriguing plot. After about a third of the book, however, the author used cruise control and absurdity to continue navigating. Hobbs has a ...more
JoAnne Pulcino
Mar 16, 2013 JoAnne Pulcino rated it really liked it
GHOSTMAN

Roger Hobbs

This debut novel by Roger Hobbs a recent college graduate has allowed him to join the ranks of some of the most distinguished authors of thrilling and addictive crime fiction writers.

His encyclopedic knowledge of the peculiar world of criminals and the vernacular of their job descriptions really enhance the read. The organizer of the heist is a jugmarker, the ghostman is exactly that. He has no real identity and relies totally on aliases. The sophisticated and gritty forms of
...more
Robin Carter
Jan 28, 2013 Robin Carter rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Review
Ghostman is a book I approached with some caution, I’m not the biggest lover of crime fiction, it takes a seriously good book / synopsis to catch my attention. That said im always open to a change (if you can make me love a genre… I will keep coming back for more).
So when i heard Transworld waxing lyrical about this great new Crime Thriller, I jumped on the internet and did some searching. The concept more than intrigued me. This wasnt another bourne type thriller (i find spy books a big y
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Darcia Helle
My thoughts on this book: Don't hesitate. Buy it. Read it!

Ghostman is Roger Hobbs' first book, and that fact astounds me. This reads as if written by a veteran author. The plot is fast-paced. There are no lulls where my mind wandered. I only put the book down when my eyes were too tired to hold open.

Ghostman is written in first person, and the narrator is a career criminal. Making a bad guy the main character is risky for any author. We readers want to care about the person telling us the story,
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Dale
May 27, 2014 Dale rated it liked it
I chose this book from a list of recommended books by under 30 authors. For a debut novel I'd say this is quite good. The highs are not super high nor the lows very low in this book, so while I have no complaints, I don't have any hyperbolic quips either. It's a good book that I enjoyed and would certainly consider reading more from this author in the future.
Richard White
Outstanding! Couldn't put down.
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Roger Hobbs graduated in 2011 from Reed College in Portland, Oregon, where he studied ancient languages, film noir, and literary theory. He wrote GHOSTMAN during his senior year.
More about Roger Hobbs...

Other Books in the Series

Jack White (2 books)
  • Vanishing Games (Jack White, #2)

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“The elevator came to a jerking halt and the doors slid open. A young vault manager was waiting for us. She looked up and then froze in fear, dropping the papers she was holding. I don't remember much else about her, but I'll never forget her scream. It wasn't even particularly memorable. Like most, it started like a high-pitched yelp and ended in hysterical sobbing. The timing was what threw me off. During most robberies, it takes a few seconds before someone lets out a yelp. Sometimes there is even this strange pregnant silence through the whole thing because everyone's too shocked and scared to move. But not this time. As soon as the elevator doors opened up, the woman started screaming.

I grabbed her by the hair and threw her into one of the teller windows.”
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“I didn't crave attention, I craved anonymity.” 1 likes
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